View Full Version : 870 Line quality question

December 2, 2008, 10:59 PM
I have 2 870's. One is a 20ga youth express the other is a 12ga Desert TAC Recon. I have heard that the express models are the "economy" line aka cheap, where as the police or military models have better quality parts and/or have been tested more extensively.

My Desert TAC Recon say "870 Tactical" on the receiver. How does that stack up against the Express, Marine magnum, Police and Military models as far as quality and such goes. I can tell you right now that I love the gun, but the powder coat on it is absolute -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-.

December 3, 2008, 07:48 AM
It's basically just the finishes which are different.Police models use a forged(?) extractor over the Express models MIM.The Police models also have a heavier hammer spring.AFAIK those are really the only differences in quality.

Dave McC
December 3, 2008, 08:14 AM
Economy model or not, I see few Expresses with probs not owner induced.

And, considering my Net visibility, I'd hear about them.

Here's the short list.

Some chambers are on the rough side. Combined with folks who do not clean off the preservative AS WRITTEN IN THE MANUAL, this can glitch up the cycle.

To fix on site, wrap 4/0 steel wool around a 3/8" dowel, chuck it up in a variable speed drill and run it through a few times. Keep the revs low.

And remove the preservative. It's rustproofing, not lube.

There was a problem with some barrels bored off center, choke threads also. It appears to have been rectified by Remington.

My 870s are old WMs with one exception, the 20 gauge Express Youth model bought in the early 90s. They keep on going, and I'm sure the 20 will also.

I've owned 870s since Ike was Prez. The only parts I've HAD to replace were two firing pin springs in a high mileage 870TB, about 18 months apart. That second spring lasted only about 10K rounds.

I've handled and shot a couple recent Expresses in both 12 and 20 gauge, students' guns. No problems to report, and happy owners.

The high end 870s may be longer lived with the machined parts, but I doubt any of us will live long enough to tell.

All 870s will outlast us. My first one has maybe 20K rounds behind it, an interesting history, and is just broken in.

It does shuck smooth....

December 3, 2008, 09:25 AM
There was a guy on here that used to be a Remington Armorer actually supplied us with a list of parts they changed out to convert the Remington Express to a 870 police model. He even gave out the list of parts and part numbers you could order to have the conversion done yourself.

Basically, it was a list of parts that they changed out that would have questionable reliability in the event your life depended on it.

I got it from him, can't remember what I did with it though.

December 3, 2008, 12:51 PM
Dave nailed it. Get the Express that comes with the factory mag tube extension because they come with an extra power mag tube spring, detent on the barrel ring and no mag tube dimples. It is the best value in the Home Defense Express. The factory mag tube extension kit is worth about $100 if you decide to sale it.

Kit: Factory tube ext, spring and mag tube ext clamp.

If you find one before the end of the year Remington is offering a $30 rebate. It maybe hard to find one though.


December 4, 2008, 09:00 PM
scattergun bob, no input?

December 18, 2008, 09:57 AM
here's a reply i got from remington when i asked about the difference in police and tactical models, just got this a few minutes ago.

All of the 870's use the exact same parts. We do not use a different grade of parts for the express models or the police models. The primary differences between the models is the finish and type of production and configuration of the final products.

The police shotgun will be a Parkerized finish with the black synthetic stocks. The Desert Recon will have the camo synthetic, entry choke tube, and powder coated finish.

Scattergun Bob
December 18, 2008, 10:49 AM
I've stated my opion clearly, I spent the time to catalogue and define the actual different parts to check and gave everyone the P/N conversions if they had problems. I posted it for you all.

I CAN lead a horse to water, I CAN'T make them drink, that about covers it.

Good Luck & Be Safe

December 18, 2008, 12:13 PM
I can tell you about two Express shotguns that had problems that were not "owner induced".They belong to me and my nieces husband and I cleaned both of them before they were shot.After I RTFM they were thoughly sprayed down with CLP and wiped down and the process repeated until the crap that looks like rust quit showing up on the rag.It was amazing how long it took for it to quit coming out of the barrel.That included using a 10 ga brush to clean the chambers.Wally world bulk ammo and the fiocchi shells they sold at the John Sevier shooting range in Knoxville would fail to extract.I even saw Barts gun rip through the rim of a black hulled remington shell.The rough chamber Remington let them leave the factory with needed no "owner induced" help in causing them to fail to extract.Polishing the chambers with the 0000 steel wool and then using Happich paste on a 10 ga mop caused the extraction problems to stop,though I had to spend more time on Barts gun than mine to get it right.It is not only remingtons that this happens to,another friends Maverick 88 did the same thing,and the same chamber polish fixed it.My gun had shot 5 boxes of rem Express buckshot and 3 or 4 boxes of Express long range 6's and win super x's with no problems,only when fed the lower priced shells did the problems with extraction show up.The parts that Scattergun Bob recommends are forged extractor PN 16176 to replace the MIM oneand the ext spring is PN 17433 the mag spring is PN 92447.The other parts were a spring in the trigger and a carrier dog spring if memory serves.I did not replace those two,the trigger sear spring only made the trigger pull harder for police use.I also replaced the J lock safety with a standard safety.It seems lots of folks don't believe it when someone reports having problems with a firearm that they themself have never had a problem with.That includes 870 mag caps not staying tight and Win AA's that had rim diameters that were oversized enough to hang up in the mag tube or not even go in.Just because it has never happened to you does not mean it doesn't happen.Every time I have jumped out of an airplane or helicopter my chute has opened,but others have had different results.

December 18, 2008, 11:26 PM
I've not bought a lot of shotguns, but I finally decided to get a 12 guage as my others are 20's for birdhunting. I wanted something that was versatile and had a good following. It was a toss up between the 500 synthetic combo and the 870 Express 7 shot. I decided to go with the 870 because I got it for $310 - 10% for store handling damage to the finish. Came out to $325 with fees and Remington will send me $30 Rebate so I'm down to about $300 OTD. Not bad for a defense shotgun with the extended mag tube. I plan on replacing the stupid J lock with a standard factory button. Does anyone know if that is difficult or requires other parts than the button to accomplish? I also am not fond of the plastic trigger group housing, but I'm hoping it will be rugged enough to just live with it as mettle ones are expensive. I would also like to find a spare magazine cap and field barrel so it will be a multi purpose gun. Anybody got a good source for used parts?

I've had some limited experience with an older single bar 500 and they are good shotguns also. The biggest turn off to a new 500 was that flimsy plastic safety. The older one I used has a steel safety.

I'm hoping not to have the extraction problems that have been reported, but I will give the gun a good workout with birdshot when I get a chance to shoot it. rc

December 18, 2008, 11:35 PM
Studid, stupid, plastic..j lock, trigger group, they probably hid other plastic stuff in there too but other than the mag follower i couldn't find it. They sell oversized, combat style safeties(steel) on e-bay and they say they are easy to install. Guess you can just melt the old one out...j/k...

I bought my wife a turkey 870 years ago(well, she took it) and its still like brand new. One night when i've got the chance, i'm going to switch trigger groups...haha:victory:

I've already swapped for her 26" barrel and she didn't notice...

Scattergun Bob
December 18, 2008, 11:55 PM
One of my 870's has the polymer trigger group. I have not shot it enough to really tell if it will hold up. Most of the hard working parts in the trigger plate ride on 2 steel bushings (I THINK this will prevent excessive wear on the shoulders and bosses of the polymer trigger plate). The only parts that I would keep an eye out for wear are the area around the hammer spring and plunger and the areas around the safety detente spring & ball and the retaining pin.

Frankly, I have not changed out a J-lock safety. I have however changed out bunches of standard safeties on the 870. Normally it requires the removal of the rear trigger plate pin busing and removal of the sear spring and pushing the trigger forward, to allow access to the safety detente retaining pin and removal of the detente ball and spring. That is not too bad of a job. Re assembly of the trigger onto the pin bushing is a bit dicey without a "silver bullet" assembly tool, but it can be done with the right size phillips screwdriver.

I hope the best for you with your new 870, I have owned a bunch and worked on several hundred. They are a great pump design, and have served me well.

Good Luck & Be Safe

December 19, 2008, 12:12 AM
The current 870 Police models have the Plastic trigger group also. I see nothing wrong with plastic....it aint pretty but it works.

Scattergun Bob
December 19, 2008, 12:22 AM
Yes, I agree, the new police flavor of 870 do have polymer trigger plates, my issue is I can not say how long they will last in relation to the previous metal ones. I THINK they will be every bit as good, but only time will tell.

Good Luck & Be Safe

Dave McC
December 19, 2008, 10:57 AM
Bob, I'm one of the highest profile 870 fans around. I've yet to hear of any probs with the synthetic TG.

Or any other plastic part on an 870. That includes followers.

Synthetic parts, made well of correct materials for that mission, seem to last very well.

I would like to see how the new 870s with poly parts do after say, 100K rounds, but I guess I'll have to wait a bit.

The one part that I've had to replace(Twice!) was finely made steel.

Scattergun Bob
December 19, 2008, 01:28 PM
I am simply being honest and saying I DO NOT KNOW the long term effects of this engineering change! I think it has been successful on the 870 express and as I previously said most of the constant movement pieces are riding on a steel bushing. As an old school guy I am having a hard time with MIM parts and polymer pieces, that does not mean they don't work, I am just going to inspect any on my guns and make damm sure they DO.

As far as plastic parts on 870's failing, I think the most common fault I discovered working on these guns was the plastic ratchet that is / was used on expresses to retain the mag cap. Many of those broke teeth due to under tightened caps, from looking at recent ratchets, it looks like Remington has gone to a softer material and that should fix the problem.

I am not a doom sayer, I simply am critical of engineering changes these days.

Good Luck & Be safe

December 19, 2008, 04:22 PM
I have a late 50's WM and when I bought it, the firing pin was broken. Surprise. Another gun show dealer "I did not know that..." Fixed that quickly with a new one from Brownells. I am not that experienced with these shuckers, and have only owned a couple pump guns. So, how rare is a broken firing pin in the 870?

Scattergun Bob
December 19, 2008, 07:48 PM
Over a 10 year period the 100 + 870 police models that I cared for had 5 or more broken firing pins. These guns were ABSUSED and fired empty many, many more times than the normal field gun would get. Dropping that very long, very thin firing pin on an empty chamber is a bad idea and the use of a snap cap is in my opinion IMPORTANT.

On the other hand, I have personally owned 9 or 10 870's as well as a quantity of OTHER flavors of combat and sporting shotguns, I have yet to bust a pin. I carry several spares, and make a serious practice of snap caps.

Good Luck and Be Safe

Dave McC
December 19, 2008, 08:44 PM
As of Xmas, 2009, I will be an 870 owner for a round half century. Total round count through mine and various agency 870s has to be close to 100K.

Total parts required, two firing pin springs. Same gun, 18 months or so apart.

Bob, I dunno either. And I can't help with the ratchet thing, all mine are pre change. Even the little 20 is from the early 90s.

Tom, I've seen just one. It was dry fired in very cold weather.

December 20, 2008, 01:43 AM
What kind of snap caps do you use. I bought a pair recently but the bolt wont completely shut when the round is chambered. I dry fire my 870, not alot, but I do. I'm gonna take your advice and stop right now.

Scattergun Bob
December 20, 2008, 01:59 AM
I'm not to drunk tonight to answer this one, I have 4 older chales daly aluminum snap caps that work very well and have been with me for about 15 years, they just keep going! I was given some high end snap caps as a gift, still have not tried them. I have had no luck with plastic ones, the rims seem to pull off.
I use Remington action proving rounds (DUMMYS) as chamber plugs in all of my scatterguns, this is what I drop the pin on for storage.

Hope this helps, Bob